Vocation Story of Sister Amaly Antoinette
I am Sr. Amaly Antoinette, I am a Little Sister since the year 2000. I was born in a loving Catholic family. I owe my parents for the faith and the good education they have provided. I have two sisters who made my childhood very memorable and now encourage me to live my call. I studied in the School run by the Sisters of St. Ann of Italy. I was very much fascinated with the white robe they wear. There was a missionary Sister from Ireland who really inspired me to religious life.
Sister Amaly Antoinette
Little Sister of the Poor
As I grew up my interest in sports shifted my attention. I am a State level KHO KHO Gold medalist and when was in 11th standard, I had a great opportunity to participate in the National Team. I considered it to be the greatest achievement in my life. My parents were a bit reluctant but as a stubborn child I would not heed to their advice so they let me do as I desired. I can still remember it was the year 1995, the Monday of the Holy week and we had the last practice in our school ground alas I had a fall and hurt my knees. I was unfit to travel, worldly speaking all the dreams for a national medal was shattered. I was angry with God, questioning him, how he could permit it?
On Holy Thursday during the Mass of the Lord’s supper, I heard the Lord’s call, when all were seated, I stood up and responded to his call loudly (I do not remember what I said but my sister forcefully pulled me down and made me sit down, calmed me and asked me to keep quiet) Little did I expect that the Lord was preparing me, not for a national medal which will be corrupted but for an eternal glory in the service of the Elderly.
There were successive departures in the family that year: my sister left us after her wedding, my dad was hospitalized for few weeks, my mom’s absence due to a training program; made me feel that even my loving family will not last forever. In a charismatic retreat that year, I discerned my vocation to be a Little Sister of the Poor. There were many religious congregations who discouraged me not to join, but I felt I was called to serve the poor. So, I began my formation. My mother died suddenly of a massive heart attack, some of my relatives blamed me for her death. It was then I really answered the Lord’s call and pursued my formation.
Now as I look back, I can see the Lords guiding hand who had predestined me for himself and his grace which has sustained and transformed me the person who I am today. I am grateful to God and to my Congregation for all that I receive each day to live my beautiful vocation and to sing his praises each day of my life.
Vocation Story of Sister Angelina Anthony
Sister Angelina Anthony
Little Sister of the Poor
I am Sister Angelina Anthony, a Little Sister of the Poor. I grew up in a catholic family in Andhra Pradesh where faith was very strong. As a child I had noticed the love and respect my parents showed to priests and religious. When I was small I studied in SFS (St. Francis de Sales) School. Whenever I saw Sisters I used to get frightened of them. My mother told me that priests and religious are very much loved by God. So, I need not be afraid of them. When I was six years old if anyone asked me what I would like to become when I grew up, I always said that I wanted to become a nun. As years passed by the desire to become a num disappeared from my mind.
When I was doing my college I used to go to the Little Sisters in Secunderabad, stayed with them in order to help the elderly. I was so touched to see the Little Sisters taking care of the elderly with so much love and dedication. I used to see the smiling face of the elderly people. I sat with them and listened to their stories. One day an old lady told me “Why don’t you become a Little Sister so that you could always stay us?” These words made me ponder and the desire to become a religious came up once again. I prayed and told Jesus that I want to be with Him and that I want to live for Him. I came home and told my parents my desire to become a Little Sister of the Poor. They did not oppose but gave their consent and said “Yes” to my wish. Today, I am very happy to be a Little Sister of the Poor, serving Jesus in the elderly poor and bringing them joy during the declining years of their lives.
Vocation Story of Sister Justina Paul
Sister Justina Paul
Little Sister of the Poor
I am Sister Justina Paul, a Little Sister of the Poor, hails from Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. I am the third child of my parents, brought up in strong catholic faith. During my childhood I experienced God’s unconditional love for me when I was at the point of death. I was told that it was the work of evil spirit and the curse from neighbours that I was so sick. The neighbours took me to different Hindu temples, hoping that I would get better, but my condition became worse. But, my parents kept their faith strong. On one Sunday even I was struggling for my breath, my mother left and went to participate in the Mass. When she returned from Mass, my mother found me playing as though nothing happened to me. My mother told me that she offered the Mass and prayed very much for me.
As I grew up I never thought of religious life and I enjoyed my life with my friends. But, God used another instrument to make me understand that God kept me alive for some purpose. It was Father Premanand Paikhwar who encouraged me to go to Bangalore to spend a few days at the Little Sisters of the Poor. Although, I was not so willing I obeyed him and found the Little Sisters in 2007. As I was with many young girls from different parts of India who shared the same experience with me a desire to increase my faith and love, and thus embrace religious life grew in me. Still not knowing which way to serve God, I returned Home. Many Congregations invited me to share their life’s experience. My mother was against me joining the Little Sisters because of the collecting. She sent me to Mission Sisters of Ajmer. I stayed with them for 4 years but I was not happy and returned home. I told my mother I do not want to go to any other congregation except to the Little Sisters of the Poor. With broken heart she gave me permission. After becoming a Little Sister of the Poor I shared with my mother and others my joy of being a Little Sister of the Poor.
My Mother encourages me now saying, “Do not be afraid of those who can kill your body, but love him more who will take care of your body and soul” as she is aware of the situation of persecution of Christians. It is a real joy for me to experience God’s love as a Little Sister of the Poor. For I know in whom I have placed my trust.
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon Ch 6: 3)
Vocation Story of Sister Celestina
Little Sister of the Poor
My name is Sister Celestina. I was born in Mumbai, Uttan Pali, in a catholic family. My parents had four children; they brought us up in Christian faith, not only saying prayers and going to church, but also doing good works. Although, my desire was to join a convent and become a religious, at the age of twenty I had to make a decision with no other motive than to serve others. I received so much love from my family and friends. I had the chance of knowing the Little Sisters of the Poor in Mumbai. I felt that that was place where God wanted me, where I could take care of the elderly and be someone for them during the last years of their lives.
My journey began in 2009 and I pronounced my first vows in 2012 in Bangalore Novitiate. The Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor is an international Congregation spread in 32 countries of the world. A spirit of joyful hospitality embracing all with open arms, hearts and minds; fostering the participation of all in the life of the Home and rejecting all forms of discrimination.
"A vocation is a call which the Lord always faithful renews for us until the end of our life, we must remain attentive to this call." Even though it was not very clear at the beginning, my vocation has more meaning to me now than when I joined the Congregation. It has its own challenges but I am strengthened by my prayer life, community life and apostolic life.
Our Foundress Saint Jeanne Jugan said repeatedly, "Be very little, very little, very humble. If you keep the spirit of humility and simplicity, never seeking the world’s esteem, then God will be glorified and you will obtain the conversion of souls. On he contrary, if you become haughty and proud, that will be the Congregation’s downfall.”
I always remember the words of Jesus, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me.”
In serving the elderly I know that I am serving the Lord himself. Whatever sacrifice I make it would be for the salvation of souls and for the greater glory of God. I am happy to be a Little Sister of the Poor today to bring joy and happiness in the lives of the elderly Poor!
Vocation Story of Sister Mary Elizabeth
Sister Mary Elizabeth
Little Sister of the Poor
I am Sr. Mary Elizabeth, from Hyderabad. How did I discover my vocation and what attracted me to the Little Sisters of the Poor ? As I grew up in a fervent Catholic family, I always had a desire to work for the Lord and to live in close intimacy with Him. As years went by this desire became very strong. I approached my Parish Priest and he directed me to the Little Sisters.
The day I went with my Mother to see the Little Sisters of the Poor at Secunderabad Home, is an unforgettable moment for it is still so fresh in my memory. As soon as they Sisters saw us, I was so struck by the way they welcomed us, with a smile on their faces. This really attracted me towards them. Usually when we speak about the Old Age Home we have the impression that there is no life, all gloomy, no laughter and fun etc. It was just the opposite which I saw in the Home for the Aged of the Little Sisters.
And as the Sisters took me around the Home, I was amazed to see the Little Sisters serving the Elderly with much joy and smile on their faces. The Elderly people were all active, looked very happy, each one occupied with their own little duties such as cutting the vegetables, gardening and doing handicrafts in the occupational therapy Unit. They make all kinds of things like flowers, dolls, Door mats etc. All these items are kept in a showcase, which says, “Handiwork of the Residents.”
When I saw all this, like the man in the Gospel who found a treasure in the field, went and sold everything he had in order to purchase that field to make it his own, I realized that it is here that I will find fulfilment and meaning to my life by responding to God’s call to be a Little Sister of the Poor.
And believe me it has been 10 years that I am a Little Sister of the Poor. As they say, “when we are with our loved ones, we don’t know how the time passes so quickly,” the same is with me. And with our Mother Foundress St. Jeanne Jugan I say, “What happiness for us to be a Little Sister of the Poor.”
Vocation Story of Sister Francisca Dominica
Sister Francisca Dominica
Little Sister of the Poor
“Make Christ the Centre of Your Life”
This is the sentence which inspired me to take a new step in my life to live entirely for God as a religious.
I, Sr.Francisca Dominica belongs to the Little Sisters of the poor, grew up in a fervent catholic family with 5 siblings. My parents encouraged me to live in catholic faith with their good exemplary life. From young age, I had a great desire to become religious. After finished my schooling, I did my Nursing and worked for 5 years in different Hospitals. And when I came to know that my family was planning for the proposal, I told my parents that I want to go for a retreat before I could take any decision for my life.
So I went with my Mother for one week retreat to discern the plan of God for me. With great enthusiasm I participated in the retreat for 5 days with fasting and prayer. On the last day of the retreat Father preached the retreat keep repeating this sentence “Make Christ the Centre of Your Life” It is this sentence which helped me to take a strong resolution to live entirely for God for the rest of my life as a religious. After my retreat I came home and the next day went for mass. To my surprise the same sentence “Make Christ the Centre of Your Life” was repeated by the priest who offered mass. As I heard that tears rolled down from my eyes. I said to myself, “God is calling me to serve him in the poor.”
As I was planning to decide which congregation to choose, I was reminded of my Nursing days when we used to visit the Home of the Little Sisters of the poor for geriatrics experience. Those sweet memories came to my mind like -feeding the elderly and helping them in little ways. I was also inspired by the words of Jesus, “What so ever you do to the least of my brothers you did it for me.” So I decided to join the congregation of the Little sisters of the poor. I made my profession in the year 2000. I am very happy to be a Little sisters of the poor and enjoy serving Jesus in the poor elderly. I am happy to say with our Mother Foundress St.Jeanne Jugan “Blessed be God, Thank you my God and Glory be to God !”